What’s with all the raucous? It doesn’t take me telling you that we live in probably the noisiest time in our world’s history for you to know that we are constantly bombarded with noise of all kinds. From the elevator to the apps for sleeping, silence has to be deliberately sought and appreciated.
I grew up in a time when families sat around the television and even listened to talk radio. When I got home from school, I did homework and talked with my family. My mother was a music major in college, so oftentimes we had different genres of music playing in the background during meals. But the noise in our house usually came from one of three sources: talking, TV, or music. When I was growing up, when you went for a walk, exercised, or waited for the bus, you didn’t shut out the world with your own soundtrack blasting into your head through earbuds.
Today, there never has to be a moment of taking in the sounds of our environment; we’ve got headphones to listen to music, books, and podcasts. There’s no need to ever have to listen to the world around you or be left alone with your thoughts…but what might our thoughts be saying? With so many stimuli in our world, there is even a market for how to turn your brain off in order to sleep. Now getting to sleep—and staying asleep—takes work because we’ve been overstimulated all day! So instead of sleep being rejuvenating, it has become stressful.
Noise comes in many forms with the most obvious being sound. But our world has so many forms of noise, particularly the visual noise coming from various types of media, that it’s almost impossible to find true quiet at any given time. I would go so far as to say that anything that isn’t silence, is noise.
The crazy thing about the amount of noise we have coming at us these days is that, on the flip side, many people find it difficult to be quiet. I know so many—particularly women—who don’t like to be alone with their thoughts. They talk about trying to sleep at night and how their minds are always racing. With so much access to everything at our fingertips, we can easily distract ourselves when scary and unhappy thoughts bubble up. Without that noise, we are faced with our own thoughts.
You have the power to stop the excess noise, though. As uncomfortable as it is, and as downright hurt as you could end up feeling, you have to be alone with your thoughts. You have to get quiet. Your life will never be what you want it to be if you are always plowing through what’s hurt you.
Getting quiet looks different for everyone. Maybe getting quiet means checking emails during set times or deactivating social media. Maybe, instead of taking something away, it’s developing a habit to replace the noise—like reading. I don’t listen to music and read; I just read. The sound on my phone is turned off. Perhaps getting quiet means becoming more organized so that the noise doesn’t create feelings of overwhelm. Getting quiet could mean meditation or taking medication to quiet your mind (legal medication, of course). Maybe getting quiet means therapy. It could be a combination of things.
Silencing my own mind begins first thing in the morning with a lengthy pause and reflection of gratitude for yesterday’s gems. That is followed by reading a chapter of the Bible, watching a sermon online, and finally prayer. Then, there is silence to hear and receive.
Starting my day by focusing on my faith has, for years, been something that helps me get quiet and focus, resulting in being prayed up and ready for all that comes my way. When I was still working, I only listened to praise and worship music on my drive to work, so that the main sounds I had going into my mind were of the highest level.
Quietness is an essential part of creating the mental focus we all need to develop and improve. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s so necessary for growth. We need silence to hear our own inner thoughts, dreams, aspirations, and concerns.
When do you experience productive and reflective quietness? What is something you can do to improve and increase quietness in 2024?Leave a Comment